The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to reappoint V. K. Balakrishnan as Collector of Kannur district, replacing P.B. Salim, who currently holds the post.

Mr. Balakrishnan had earlier been removed as Collector on the directions of the Election Commission against the backdrop of allegations and controversies over voters list in the by-election from Kannur Assembly constituency.

Announcing the decision to bring back Mr. Balakrishnan, Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said that new posting for the incumbent Mr. Salim had not been decided upon.

Mr. Achuthanandan told the media here that a proposal for construction of a Greenfield airport in Idukki would be presented to the Steering Committee under the Union Ministry for Civil Aviation.

The Cabinet had approved the recommendation of the State Commission for Backward Classes on providing reservation for Nadars in government service. Accordingly, one out of every 40 appointments would be reserved for Hindu Nadars. The SUCI (South Indian United Church) Nadars would also get the same benefit. For last grade posts, however, two out of 40 jobs would be reserved for them. It had also approved a pension scheme for members of the Vyapari Vyavasai Welfare Fund.

The Cabinet had further decided to grant Rs. 15 lakh each to Erumeli, Perinad and Ranni panchayats for meeting expenditure in connection with Sabarimala pilgrimage. The Pandalam panchayat and Chengannur municipality would be given Rs. 10 lakh each. The Kuttipuram and Kodungallur panchayats would be sanctioned Rs. 10 lakh each for improving the facilities in transit camps.

He announced that Rs. 2 lakh each would be given to the families of three of the four fishermen who had died in an accident at Punnapra junction in Mararikulam village on November 13. The family of the fourth, who was not a member of the Fishermen’s Welfare Fund, would be given Rs. 3 lakh.

M. N. Gunavardanan would be posted as Secretary (Irrigation) and A. Jayatilak as Secretary (Water Supply).

Responding to a query, the Chief Minister said that the government had not dropped the Smart City Project. The promoters were making such propaganda because they lacked resources to start work on the project, he alleged.

Mr. Achuthanandan said that the State and Central governments were vigilant about activities of terrorists in the State. The State government was tackling the issue as per directives.